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Full scale launch of Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) services for managing political parties’ membership register will be a designate element in the in the history of the Office. The long-awaited launch of the three services on eCitizen platform, namely; checking of membership status, joining a party of choice and resigning from a party was held on 10th November, 2021 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi. The occasion also witnessed the unveiling of the 2020/25 Strategic Plan.

The ORPP is now among the latest institutional entrants that have enabled Kenyans to access with ease, the three listed services on the platform that has over 300 public services. According Nick Wambugu, the Director in charge of Government Digital Payment at the National Treasury, eCitizen has since inception in 2014 transformed service delivery avenue for citizens.

Pomp, glitz and glamour punctuated the well- attended launch presided over by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs , Joe Mucheru hosted by the Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu. In attendance were a host of high-level officials drawn from political parties, government agencies, high commissions /missions, non- governmental organizations, and donor partners. They all hailed the initiative as a game changer in effective management of membership register.

Chief guest, CS Mucheru noted his appreciation to the ORPP’s move to launch the e-services and Strategic Plan, noting that such initiatives have made the Office  be counted in technology-driven services for the good of the citizens and support delivery of its mandate. “ICT is the oil that drives today’s economy and service delivery, therefore it is appreciable that ORPP has taken the bold step by enlisting the critical services on eCitizen platform”, the CS noted. The CS further acknowledged the embodiment of technology in the making of the 2020/25 Strategic Plan as reflected on its varied implementation strategies “I am encouraged ICT is at the heart of ORPP Strategic Plan, we look forward to its implementation in line with the areas of focus”, CS Mucheru noted.

CS Joe Mucheru Checks status

ORPP Senior ICT Officer Mr Robert Waithaka (L) guides CS Joe Mucheru (center) to check his membership status. Looking on are; The Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu (2nd right)and Data protection Commissioner Immaculate Kasait.

The Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu was delighted at the support the stakeholders have given to the Office, culminating to the launch and other milestones the Office had made in varied fronts. “I am personally indebted to you all for the support to ORPP that contributes to delivery of our mandate”, Ms Nderitu prized. Registrar further reiterated her commitment in supporting political parties to deliver better on their role as institutions of governance. “Political parties are my number one priority, therefore, ORPP will continue to serve in the best way possible. I further call on all Kenyans to support the enlisted services on eCitizen as now you will take charge of your own membership existence in political parties”, the Registrar urged.

Assistant Registrars joined in appreciating the stakeholders towards the launch and ORPP strategic intents as outlined in the 2020/25 Strategic Plan. “The launch has been a result of a robust and inclusive process and therefore as ORPP we are very grateful. The eCitizen is a safe and secure platform that all stakeholders can enjoy the services on- a whole new experience”, assured CPA Florence Birya, the Assistant Registrar, Registration and Field Services Coordination. “We are re-engineering our game plan, it is our collective promise and guarantee of our high standards”, noted Ali Surraw, Assistant Registrar Regulation, Compliance, PPF and Capacity Building, as he presented highlights of the 2020-25 Strategic Plan.

Most of the guests present reassured their commitment in partnering and supporting ORPP through the course of the implementation of the Plan and in the course of managing feedback resulting from the onboarding of the services on eCitizen. “We are happy for the good work of ORPP led by the Registrar. We will expedite the necessary legislative processes including the current one on Political Parties Primaries Bill”, noted Chris Wamalwa, MP for Kiminini Constituency.

Chairperson Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) appreciated the inclusive initiatives ORPP was spearheading. “I am particularly encouraged by inclusive measures such as the access of services on eCitizen that ORPP is making. In such initiatives, ORPP imprints its fairness and justice in its processes”, Florence Kajuju noted. Her counterpart at the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT), Desma Nungo corroborating her sentiments, “PPDT is always proud to be part of ORPP’s success as the launch and will continue working together”.

Stakeholders were further urged to be conscious and cautious of the private data matters especially in the wake of technology-driven world.  Data Commissioner, Emmaculate Kasait passionately called for those present at personal and institutional capacity to adhere to the raft of data protection provisions as enshrined in the Data Protection Act, 2019. “Data protection must be conscious and we must team up to address gaps and breaches that might have been as the protection law guides. I call on political parties to observe the requisite provisions even as they implement the membership services on eCitizen launched”, encouraged Ms. Kasait.

The on-boarding of eCitizen is a tireless effort by the ORPP through its ICT department in partnership with eCitizen and support of varied supporting partners. Making of the 2020/25 Strategic Plan was spearheaded by the Planning department. “Thank you for being real and candid to us through our processes and engagements”, summed ORPP’s Juliet Murimi as she gave glowing notes of appreciation during the launch event.

Launch strategic Plan

CS Joe Mucheru, (L)  unveils the ORPP 2020-25 strategic plan, as the Registrar of Political parties, Ms Ann Nderitu and PPLC chairperson Evans Misati (R)  witness  the unveiling.

Uptake of services on eCitizen 

In the first week on roll out, according to ICT department, checking of membership topped the services sought followed by resignation and request to join political parties respectively. “A total of 16,892 persons had utilized the services by 17th November, 2021”, noted the ORPP’s Head of ICT, Robert Waithaka.

ecitizen membership status poster

Click here to access the services on eCitizen. 

Past cases pertaining political parties and party processes will be expeditiously finalized. The Chief Justice Hon. Martha Koome has assured the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, following Registrar Ann Nderitu's request on determination of a number of cases pending in court for years.

The Registrar also noted the need for decisive legal action on Gender Based Violence(GBV) propagators especially those meted on aspiring women candidates .She spoke during a high level multi-agency consultative meeting on election preparedness at Kenya School of Government today.

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A technical team drawn from electoral players was formed to consolidate plans for unified preparedness by respective agencies prior, during and after the elections. Lead speakers including ,the Chief Justice (Chairperson of the forum), Cabinet Secretaries present, the Attorney General, Principal/Chief Administrative Secretaries, Chairperson of IEBC, Chairpersons and head of institutions, Inspector of Police among other top government dignitaries took stock of level of preparedness by respective agencies and formulated a joint effort drawing from lessons learnt in previous elections to deliver free, fair and credible 2022 general election.

The voice and contribution of the political parties through the regulatory role of Office of the Regisrar of Political Parties towards increasing representation of Persons with Disabilities in Parliament was a key feature during the inaugural Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) Africa Region conference, Kenya hosted on 14th to 18th October 2021.
 
Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu being among the guest speakers, spoke on the subject; “Participation of Persons with Disabilities in political parties”. She highlighted the gains ORPP had made in regulating and supporting political parties in promoting meaningful contribution of PwDs in parties in ways such as ensuring their inclusion in party governing organs, assessing membership requirements and steering varied capacity programmes and engagements targeted to the elected and aspiring PwDs.
 
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Regisrar of Political Parties Ms.Ann Nderitu speaking during the forum.
 
The noble conference, that brought together PWDs Parliamentarians from 12 commonwealth countries was convened by Kenya's Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly. Kenya leads the leadership of the CPwD network to which the Speaker Hon. Justin Muturi is currently the Chairperson of the Executive Committee Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region while Hon. Dennitah Ghati serves as the CPwD’s Chairperson. The forum, to which member country duty bearers participated was centred on the theme; Mainstreaming Disability Considerations in Legislative Agenda in 21st Century.

The Registrar of Political Parties,Ms Ann Nderitu was among the national voices that featured during on the third edition of the People Dialogue festival (PDF), 2021 held on 15th and 16th September, 2021. Departing from the previous editions, this year’s fair was staged nationally in Nairobi and concurrently in four counties of  Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Laikipia and Kakamega counties, 2021.

This year’s was event organised by Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) in conjunction with other partners, was an hybrid, where pre-recorded messages of opinion shapers formed virtual exhibition displays while a limited in person attendees were allowed at the venues.

The Registrar was one of the key note voices giving guidance on political parties and democratic growth. In her pre-recorded message played during the forum, she highlighted of ORPP’s varied initiatives with focus on its continued efforts in enforcing the Political Parties Code of Conduct through varied compliance mechanisms. Some of the gains the Office had put in place to ensure that political parties contribute in the realization of a stable political environment ahead of the 2022 general elections the Registrar highlighted were: training party organs on good governance; regular guidance on cooperation and other intra/inter party relations; capacity building and regular engagement with parties’ Special Interest Groups; spearheading of legal reforms; embracing appropriate ICT solutions among others.

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Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu makes her contribution as a lead panelist during the People’s Dialogue Festival in Hilton, hotel Nairobi.

“The efforts we are making at ORPP are to ensure political processes are as inclusive as possible, contributing to the making of a better and more refined country for the next generations”, Registrar underscored during a recording session in her Office for the event on 7th September, 2021.  She urged that political mobilization as the country gears towards general election should be progressive and issue-based “Mobilization along political lines should be on issue-based politics as Constitution of Kenya requires so as to be alive and responsive to issues ailing some of our systems”, Ms Nderitu emphasized.

Speaking as a panelist,Registrar delved into the subject of the impact of and dis/misinformation on electoral integrity and citizens’ trust in democratic institutions as well as regulatory options to address electoral integrity issues. “Democratic elections rely on a competitive process, faith in electoral institutions and informed participation. The strategic deployment of false, exaggerated or contradictory information in the electoral environment has been a potent tool for undercutting these democratic principles in many places around the world”, Registrar pointed, while clarifying on functional differences between disinformation and misinformation.

“I encourage political parties to refrain from engaging in disinformation tactics especially in campaigns and must take steps to protect their repute on this front. An interparty of dialogue and upholding the Code of Conduct should be a norm”. Adding the call for appropriate legislative actions to protect and address electoral integrity-related issues for functioning and survival of democracies.

“Low levels of trust in democratic institutions by citizens lead to destabilization of electoral contests as the fear of defeat oft results into a sense exclusion from political and economic opportunities hence violence and instabilityas well as varied anti-movements may arise”, Registrar summed.

panel PDF 2021

Chairperson for CMD Senator Abshiro Halake noted the importance of such as forum as PDF that provides unique opportunity to foster active civic engagement, a culture of dialogue and critical thinking on a range of governance, social and economic issues by bringing together people of different trades and backgrounds. “PDF is here to ensure that we leave no one behind”, the nominated Senator noted.

The event programme consisted of key note address by chief guests, audience-lead panel discussions on identified topics, county forums to complement the main event and entertainment sessions from wide variety of artistic genres.

Participants consisted of representation drawn from: government officials, political parties, diplomats, Community Based Organisations, religious organisations, professional associations, academia, civil society, trade unions, Special Interest Groups, media and general members of the public. This year CMD also incorporated participation by students from high and primary schools.